Tracede still remembered that first day Susanda spent, locked up in her room until night fell and all on their small island had went home to their sleep. He had been restless from the moment she had withdrawn from the doorway and shut him out. He had taken to his own room in an attempt at gaining some silence to process his initial interaction with her and where he could progress from that point on. He paced the length of his chamber, he sat and stood a dozen times over, and he polished his weapon: a trident that had been forged on the spring solstice on a small island surrounded by the clearest of crystal waters.
Obviously named for the time frame it was forged in, the Spring Trident has nearly impaled him, which was how it was discovered after years of being buried in the thick coral of the ocean-side beach by his home. He had gone fishing with a close friend on an unusually hot day in spring. The unseasonal heat combined with no shade in their small wooden boat caused Tracede great discomfort so was resolved to jump in to the rejuvenating waters, regardless of whether or not be scared the fish away. So that was what he did; standing up his thin, sweat-soaked shirt and dove right in, right over the spot the Trident stuck out from the coral. It had torn a decent size gouge in his right leg stretching the length of his calf to his knee. Tracede’s friend had nearly passed out from the sight of all the bloodied water around his boat and was barely able to row them back to land.
Although he was in great pain and light headed from the blood loss, Tracede insisted it was not the coral that injured him, that there was something made of metal down there. No one believed him, something to do with his carefree, light-hearted, imaginative nature that made others question what he believe he saw. So naturally, and against the healer’s advisement, Tracede convinced his friend to return to their earlier fishing spot to inspect the coral beneath. Just as he thought he saw earlier, he saw three prongs jetting out of the coral. Once pulled from the coral, the history of the Spring Trident was told and the decision was made that it now belonged to Tracede, to forge his own sense of responsibility and honour.
Tracede was sent to the Coliseum by the elders of his village, wanting to encourage him to become the leader they hoped he could be, after a string of events that occurred after the Trident was declared his. He learned how to fight and be victorious; he learned respect for his opponent and how to honour his victories and enemies in their defeat. He could now protect those he cared about, but managed to do so while remaining the light-hearted and caring man his mother had taught him to be. He strove to hold on to those traits for as long as he could, not just for himself but for Susanda so she could see that one could be protective but also keep their humanity in the process. He hoped in time she would see that lesson and learn that she too could allow herself to live again.
He took that lesson as ironic, given that their responsibility at the Coliseum was to take lives and push mortals to their utmost limit. The pair sought their lives, new lives to overcome pasts that are better left forgotten, while they took promising lives away from the young and old. But perhaps doing so was the toll they had to pay in order to become alive again. Cruel as it may have been, they did it anyways.
The trumpets sounded on the other side of their new home. Tracede rose from his seat and walked over to the Spring Trident. Pausing, his eyes traced the intricate carvings and textures on its shaft and took it up with both hands. He turned to the doorway and smiled at his beautiful Susanda, “they’re calling. Shall we get going?”